Class of 1955
Victor was the son of Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Paino who arrived from the island of Fulcudi in 1911.
He opened Fremantle Fish Supply in Fremantle in 1926. Salvatore believed education was the key to success and so he and his wife sacrificed many of life’s luxuries and worked a 7-day week so he could afford to send his boys to good schools. Salvatore was determined that they would have things he never did.
“The best thing my father ever did for me,” says Victor “was to send me to Aquinas”. The worst thing he ever did for him was drop him off at school in the old blue ute that was followed by hordes of flies who were attracted by the stench of fish. He can laugh about it looking back. Victor recalls it was a very hard life. While his older brother was being conscripted to fight for Australia in WWII Salvatore was interred as an Italian Prisoner of War in Harvey in 1940. Despite the fact Salvatore had become an Australian citizen in 1920. At the age of only 15 Victor was plucked from Aquinas to join his father’s business.
Although by his own admission, not Aquinas’ finest academic, Victor is arguably one of its finest entrepreneurs. His business sense drove the family business to become the multi-million dollar enterprise that is Sealanes today. He widened the product line to include small goods and much needed ships’ supplies to a growing port that dominated Australia’s western seaboard.
Before long, his customers had upgraded from local shoppers to navies and commercial shipping. Anyone who arrived by ship in the 1950s needed to restock and so he supplied them with the best. He lived through the arrival of refrigeration, but before it came ships had an even greater need of fresh produce. Prestigious customers used his company, such as Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Yacht Britannia on a trip to Australia.
Victor left the business 14 years ago and publically he takes no credit for the company’s success. If you ask him he will tell you that “I was very, very lucky and many people helped me”. It is his way to deflect the glory to others. He attributes his strong work ethic to his parents and the education they worked so hard to provide him. He was given the Member of the Order of Australia in 2018 for significant services to the seafood retailing industry, to ship supply services, and to the community through support of charitable groups such as Rotary and the Fremantle Hospital.